What can be learnt from a lesson observation? – Lily
What can be learnt from a lesson observation? How does this impact upon your strategies for behaviour management?
Peer lesson observations have provided me with an insight into not just behaviour management strategies but also student response and engagement, therefore immediately indicating how effective the strategy has been. In particular, I have found observing a Key Stage 1 science lesson extremely beneficial for my development.
Tailoring lessons helps students to engage with the learning, as they feel the work is achievable (Griffith and Burns, 2012). This then reduces disruptive behavior in the classroom as students are able to participate in the lesson. Whilst observing the aforementioned lesson I was able to see how the teacher adapted her plan to support her class who were struggling to remain focussed. Instead of writing to document their understanding, students took photographs and recorded their explanations. This documented their learning in a way that was engaging and accessible to the class. Following this observation, I edited a lesson to best suit my class, I prioritised groupwork and documented student learning through captioned photographs. Following this lesson, on reflection, the level of work my students produced was significantly higher than the work they had produced the previous week, where students had lost focus due to written work expectation being too high.
Griffith and Burns (2012) explain that students who feel connected with their teachers feel motivated in their learning. One way in which to establish this relationship is to encourage students to share how they are feeling, thus building their emotional literacy; Shelton and Brownhill (2012) define emotional literacy as “the ability to recognise, understand, handle, and appropriately express emotions”. Increased emotional literacy can enable the teacher to build stronger connections with students and by doing so reduce negative behaviour (Lee, 2006, Sharp 2012). I had previously implemented this verbally in my classroom, but felt it wasn’t having an impact. Whilst observing the opening of the science lesson I noticed the class had a ‘Feelings Chart’. The students were free to move their photograph up or down the chart to show how they were feeling throughout the day, allowing for changing of feelings and more frequent class discussion. Moreover, whilst observing her lesson, I was able to see how the teacher adjusted her tone depending on the student’s mood or feelings. I have since introduced the ‘Feelings Chart’ into my classroom. I found it has helped me to build a greater understanding of my students and build stronger connections, which in turn has improved their behaviour.
Whilst I observed the lesson, I noticed that the teacher addressed low-level disruptive behaviour using non-verbal prompts to get students back on task. This maintained the pace of the lesson and prompted the students in this class to make better behaviour choices. By watching this being implemented in a lesson I was able to see how students quickly mirrored the teachers’ actions. I have since found silent behaviour management techniques to be particularly effective with my students who can be loud or disruptive as my actions are a total contrast to their behaviour.
Griffith, A. and Burns, M. (2012). Outstanding Teaching: Engaging Learners. Camarthen: Crown House Publishing, pp.91-92.
Sharp, P. (2012). Nurturing Emotional Literacy. 3rd ed. Oxon: Routledge.